The Courage Test
Will is on a road trip with his father, but he'd rather be anywhere else. His father, the history buff, is taking him along the trail Lewis and Clark traveled, so there's camping and rafting, at least. But Will's frustration with his father - over his leaving the family and having a new girlfriend, of his interest in history rather than Will's interests, and even this trip that means Will could have to fight off bears - all of that is between these two people who are (mostly) alone in the wilderness.
The history part was the most interesting for me, as a reader, but the delivery of it (through Will's postcards to his mother, journal entries, and his father's forced lectures) seems a little unnatural in places. The overall sense of Will's frustration and irritation with his father seemed very true-to-life, but some of the language did not. The encounter with Maria is interesting, but it seems like a story that belongs in a different book, rather than being integral to this one. This story is good in that it explores a father-son relationship for a middle grade audience, and it shares interesting historical tidbits to a reluctant main character who gradually begins to appreciate them.
"I had failed the courage test."
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